Construction crews are beginning work on a new 10-lane bridge linking Barrhaven to Riverside South.

The 143-metre Strandherd-Armstrond Bridge is expected to improve access to both communities, as well as speed up emergency response times in the area.

About 60,000 residents currently live in Riverside South and Barrhaven South, an area that's still expanding.

"We knew that Riverside South and Barrhaven South had designated a tremendous amount of growth for the future and it was happening very, very quickly, so it was a no-brainer that we needed to build this bridge to connect these two communities," said Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli, who noted he's been aware of the problem since he was mayor.

The $48-million bridge, funded equally be all three levels of government, is expected to alleviate pressure on existing bridges over the Rideau River at Hunt Club Road and Bridge Street in Manotick.

Construction is expected to be completed by 2012.